Safari is often and best experienced as a combination of elements, an equation of ‘safari and…’ bush and beach; Botswana and Victoria Falls; Kruger, Cape Town and the Winelands. If you’re coming this far, you should experience as much as you can. In this special article celebrating our 20th anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of new reasons to go on safari and exciting ways to extend your trip that we’ll be talking about for the next two decades.

Bird's Nest at Segera Retreat, Kenya

The Stars Are Closer

Africa's Incredible Star-beds

With only a mosquito net between you and the infinite Milky Way, drift off to the sounds of chortling hippos, giggling hyenas and the distant calls of lion. A ‘star-bed’ is exactly what the name suggests: a comfortable, open-air bed out in the wilderness. Some are simply made in romantically candle-lit riverbeds, while others are cradled in rustic ‘bird’s nest’ style platforms above the treeline. Some are even featured in luxurious tree houses equipped with en suite bathrooms and running water. Head to the private reserves in Botswana, South Africa and Kenya for an unforgettable night in the wild, or the Makgadikgadi Pans and Namibia for out of this world star-gazing.

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Jabali Ridge, Tanzania
Roho ya Selous, Tanzania
Camel trek at Lewa Safari Camp, Kenya

The Best-Kept Secrets

Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

We asked our team of experts where they would go on safari and the answers were nearly unanimous: Tanzania’s Ruaha and Selous, and Kenya’s Laikipia and Lewa. Mention Tanzania and the first thought for most travellers is likely thousands of wildebeest moving across the Serengeti. But only roughly 1% of the country’s visitors opt for the crowd-free Ruaha National Park, limited to a handful of tented camps and game lodges that are only accessible by air. We love staying at the newly-opened Jabali Ridge.

Discover Ruaha

The Best-Kept Secrets

Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Selous is Africa’s largest game reserve, almost 2.5 times bigger than the state of New Jersey. It’s remote, phenomenally wild and packed with Jurassic-sized herds of animals. Selous' best lodges and tented camps, like Roho ya Selous, are in remote, prime game-viewing locations along the banks of the great Rufiji River, the reserve’s life-blood.

Explore Selous

The Best-Kept Secrets

Laikipia and Lewa, Kenya

Kenya’s Laikipia lies on the rim of the majestic Great Rift Valley and features sensational private reserves that offer luxurious family-friendly accommodation, like Loisaba Tented Camp, and exclusive honeymoon locations. Its next-door neighbour, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, is an exquisite 62 000-acre sanctuary for highly endangered species like eastern black rhino and the beautiful Grevy's zebra. Head to Lewa Safari Camp and ditch the 4x4 for a camelback safari, a unique way to get close to the game.

Uncover Kenya
The villas on Frégate
Cast away to Medjumbe

Your Personal Paradise

Frégate Island Private, Seychelles

With picture-perfect beaches on the Indian Ocean’s azure waters, the Seychelles is an ideal bush-to-beach ending. But if you opt for the extra helicopter or boat ride beyond the obvious choices like Praslin and Mahé, you can discover hidden jewels like the unique Frégate Island Private. A conservation sanctuary for marine creatures, Frégate offers visitors the ultimate in luxury and seclusion; a handful of sensational villas; an estate only for groups; seven beaches (widely known as some of the world’s best); and a private harbour and yacht club.

Find Your Island

Your Personal Paradise

Medjumbe Private Island, Mozambique

Journey to Mozambique's Medjumbe Private Island in the magnificent Quirimbas Archipelago (the lesser-known sister to the Bazaruto Archipelago), one of the most untouched in the Indian Ocean. This isolated paradise of powder-soft sand, golden sunsets, Crusoe-chic beach villas and world-class diving can only be enjoyed by a maximum of 24 guests at just one resort – expect unrivalled intimacy and noiseless beauty.

See the Quirimbas
The dining car on Rovos Rail. Photo by Stacie Flinner

Everything but the Tiny Planes

Safari by Rail

Recapture the romance of travel in the world’s most luxurious train line, Rovos Rail, complete with wood-panelled cars, formal dinners and 5-star cuisine. Embark on the acclaimed 15-day journey across five countries from Cape Town, South Africa to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Stop along the way to track the Big 5, witness Victoria Falls, and safari in the remote and wild Selous – one of our best-kept secrets. July 2019 will mark the debut of the Trail of Two Oceans, an extraordinary transcontinental adventure from Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean to Lobito in Angola on the Atlantic – complete with a fly-in safari to Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.

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Miavana Island Sanctuary
Nosy Be, Madagascar
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Isalo National Park
Avenue of the Baobabs

A New Nature Hotspot

Madagascar

Introducing the newest destination in our stable where tourism is just taking off! It’s best described as the ‘Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’: the world’s fourth largest island is an official biodiversity hub where 90 percent of species are endemic. This incredible place is home to a hundred types of lemur, six types of baobab trees and over 40 national parks. Add sensational diving, a huge humpback whale migration, a diverse landscape and about 70 adventure activities, and you get an adventurer’s paradise that sees fewer than 30 000 visitors a year.

Explore Madagascar

A New Nature Hotspot

The North

Nosy Be – the most-visited part of the island as well as the tourist hub – and Tsava Komba are diving wonderlands, especially to see massive whale sharks. Conditions are also usually perfect for kiteboarders to skim the clear, azure, warm water. Head off to Montagne d’Ambre (Amber Mountain) National Park to see seven unique species of lemur, the world’s second tiniest chameleon and the shy fosa, the island’s only predator. The town of Ambanja is famous for fresh vanilla, coffee, cacao, cloves and ylang ylang – scents that sum up the tropics.

Explore Madagascar

A New Nature Hotspot

The East

Quieter than the north, the east’s Andasibe National Park is the home of the island’s biggest lemur, which is the size of a koala bear. The Pangalanes Channel is a massive 400-kilometre / 250-mile stretch of freshwater that feeds the area and is ideal for boating adventures. Off the coast, Sainte Marie Island is the epicentre of the annual humpback-whale migration from about June to September every year. The whales are very active on the reef with the females giving birth to calves and the males ‘singing’ to attract new mates.

Explore Madagascar

A New Nature Hotspot

The South

One of the most wondrous parts of the island, the south has several different landscapes, ranging from the rainforest of Ranomafana National Park to the soaring sandstone canyons of Isalo. If you enjoy hiking, then the south is the place to be. Finish off with time in Antsokay Arboretum, which has over 900 different plant species and a ‘spiny forest’ made up of fascinating types of cacti.

Explore Madagascar

A New Nature Hotspot

The West

Baobabs are remarkable trees that can survive arid environments by storing enormous quantities of water in their thick trunks. The most famous ‘baobab alleys’ – or clusters of these colossal flora – are at Savute and Nxai Pan in Botswana. But Madagascar’s Avenue of the Baobabs between Morondova and Belo Tsiribihina is even more impressive… and much-less visited. The west’s 100-metre / 330-foot high rocky outcrops of limestone pinnacles are a geological World Heritage Site.

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The Overberg's Elim village
Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
The Cederberg Mountains

Winelands Only Locals Know

The Best You’ve Never Heard Of

Wine is as unique as the location where its grapes are grown. In essence, that’s what makes the big wine regions of the world famous. The acclaimed Cape Winelands in South Africa are well-known for award-winning varietals, luxury accommodation and gorgeous scenery. But according to local sommeliers, a handful of vintners outside the ever-popular Stellenbosch and Franschhoek wine valleys are garnering international attention by throwing out the viticulture textbooks and pushing the boundaries of winemaking.

Discover These Gems

Winelands Only Locals Know

The Coast: Overberg and Cape Agulhas

Upstarts in the Overberg region’s Greyton area are producing award-winning Syrah, Pinot noir, and Chardonnay in a cool climate by allowing the grapes to ripen on the vines longer. Less than two hours from Cape Town at the base of sandstone mountains, Greyton is a popular getaway for locals. Andy Mitchell Wines – a family-run, garagiste wine cellar – produces high-quality wines in small quantities. Next door in Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the African continent where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, the area’s extreme cool ocean winds are perfect for ripening sensational Semillon and Shiraz, and creating award-winning Sauvignon blanc from wineries like Strandveld and Land’s End.

Winelands Only Locals Know

The Mountains: Cederberg

Head inland through the increasingly popular Swartland wine region until you hit the picturesque Cederberg Mountains, the indigenous home of rooibos tea. Another favourite getaway spot for locals, this region is home to some of South Africa’s most remote and highest-altitude vineyards. Known for Cabernet, Syrah, Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Chenin, the Cederberg is one of very few mountain ranges in the Western Cape that sees snowfall, which encourages the vines to ‘shut down’ in aid of a healthy life cycle. Head to the Cederberg Private Cellar to taste some of David Nieuwoudt’s fabulous Chenin blanc – one of South Africa’s best unique varietals.

Shumba Camp, Zambia
Hoanib Valley Camp, Namibia
Duba Plains Camp, Botswana
Faru Faru River Lodge, Tanzania

Off the Grid & the Map

The Most Remote Lodges in Africa

As urban growth continues to develop at the ever-increasing pace of modern life, virtually nowhere remains unexplored today. But there are still places in Africa that are truly remote, where time stands still and nature remains untouched as far as the eye can see. Some of our favourites are accessible only by light aircraft or boat, adding a touch of adventure to your getaway – and many are protecting the tranquillity by not installing Wi-Fi. What could be more luxurious or indulgent than not having to answer texts, emails or calls for a few days?

More Secluded Spots

Off the Grid & the Map

Namibia and Zimbabwe

Beyond the world-famous Etosha National Park and the dunes of Sossusvlei are Namibia’s vast stretches of land where there are fewer than two people per square kilometre. Fly up to lodges like Serra Cafema on the Kunene River, where northern Namibia meets Angola and you explore the dunes on an ATV or quad bike. Or travel down the Skeleton Coast to Hoanib Valley Camp, an eco-lodge that benefits the community and giraffe conservation. In Zim, splurge on the country’s most luxurious lodge – Pamushana – down south in the little-visited Malilangwe reserve.

See the Skeleton Coast

Off the Grid & the Map

Botswana and Zambia

Both countries have very low visitor numbers, meaning that many places retain their away-from-it-all atmosphere. Botswana has the world’s greatest inland delta surrounded by mesmerising semi-desert. Take a journey into the deep northern Okavango to lodges like Duba Plains, where you will have the water wonderland all to yourself. In Zambia, Kafue National Park covers a massive area and lodges like Shumba are few and far between. The Busanga Plains in Kafue are chock full of action during the mid-year dry season and you’re unlikely to see another vehicle for miles.

Explore Duba Plains

Off the Grid & the Map

Tanzania

Always a safari heavy-hitter that is hugely popular with travellers from across the globe, even Tanzania has its secret places. One standout is Beho Beho, a lodge that overlooks the Rufiji River floodplain in Selous, one the biggest game reserves in the world, and that has been owned by the same family for over 40 years. Even the Serengeti – which gets really busy during the mid-year Wildebeest Migration river crossings – has pockets of peace, like at Faru Faru, which has no phone reception at all.

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View at the Four Seasons
Sustainable cuts at The Braai Room
Marble restaurant

An Emerging Food Capital

Johannesburg, South Africa

Cape Town is widely hailed as Africa’s gourmet superstar. But there’s a younger, hipper upstart hot on its heels: Johannesburg. Joburg – or ‘Jozi’ – is the flashy New York to Cape Town’s laid-back California and the food scene is modern, exciting, and growing. Since you’re likely to fly via Johannesburg – Africa’s busiest airport and wealthiest city – for a Southern Africa safari, make the most of it with some fantastic meals.

See Our Short List

An Emerging Food Capital

African Cuisine

You’re in Africa, so go African! Local cuisine is a combination of classics like peri-peri (a spicy mix made from African bird’s eye chillies), pap or phutu (a kind of polenta) and game meat like springbok or even crocodile. Head to the vibrant districts of Soweto, Maboneng or Newtown for cold beer, a hearty meal and a lively atmosphere. The sine qua non of African food is, of course, the braai (pronounced ‘bry’) – this is all about grilling meat on open flames – no wieners, no patties, no gas. Sample boerewors or ‘wors’ (pronounced ‘vorce’), a thick sausage that is a South African staple and served with caramelised onions or chakalaka, a spicy salsa. We suggest a gourmet braai at The Braai Room in Sandton.

An Emerging Food Capital

Fine Dining

For a more refined experience, choose one of Johannesburg’s best restaurants and, with the favourable exchange rate, you can go all out. Some are connected to top hotels like The Saxon (where former president Nelson Mandela wrote his best-selling autobiography Long Walk to Freedom) or the Four Seasons Westcliff (which has some of the city’s best views) while others are further afield. Favourites include DW Eleven-13 (modern South African), Marble (cooking over fire), Qunu (classic grill) and Winehouse at Ten Bompas (Europe meets Asia).

Chikoko Trails Camp, Zambia
Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, Botswana
Singita’s Community Culinary School, Kruger

Each Trip Makes a Difference

Low-footprint

The new buzzword in travel is 'purpose' through the marriage of hospitality and conservation. And while ‘green’ policies and technologies continue to gain steam, safari has long led the way in conscious tourism. In Zambia’s beautiful South Luangwa National Park, you can ditch the game-drive vehicle for specialist guides who walk you from camp to camp through big game territory. Many lodges here are made completely of thatch every year by local artisans using traditional methods and materials. When the rainy season comes in November, they biodegrade back into Mother Earth, to be rebuilt in time for the June dry season. Try an itinerary with lodges like Tena Tena, Mwaleshi or Chikoko.

Walk in Luangwa

Each Trip Makes a Difference

Sustainability

While governments and consumers are just beginning to consider life after plastic, Rwanda led the way, banning plastic bags way back in 2006 with Kenya following suit in 2017 and Botswana doing the same in 2018. Many lodges across Africa now offer water filtered onsite and provide reusable water bottles and bamboo straws on the path to zero plastic waste. Even more have begun incorporating solar power, including Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp – the first to use Tesla powerpacks to generate 80% renewable energy. One of the original pioneers in sustainability, Gibb’s Farm in Tanzania, grows 90% of the food it serves on its grounds while 100% of its waste is reused, recycled, or disposed of consciously onsite.

Explore Xaranna Camp

Each Trip Makes a Difference

Conservation and Community

Most, if not all, African safari companies have initiatives to help protect the continent’s precious wildlife from supporting anti-poaching units and conservation organisations like Rhinos and Oceans Without Borders to various animal ‘adoption’ opportunities. They also invest in local communities living around reserves and concessions through school programmes and countless employment opportunities. At Singita’s Community Culinary School at Lebombo Lodge – with its brand-new training kitchen that produces 10 expertly-trained commis chefs from the area each year – you can take cooking classes or even sponsor a student. Investing in a safari is a uniquely sound investment in Africa’s future.

Lodges That Give Back
Port Nolloth, South Africa
Wolf’s Fang runway, Antarctica

Unbelievable Grand Finales

The Benguela Diamond Safari, South Africa

Flying private can make even the most unthinkable journeys possible. You can effortlessly string together camps and lodges across East and Southern Africa but if you’re stopping in Cape Town, you can add on some epic same-day 'safaris.' The Benguela Diamond Safari is a short flight to Port Nolloth on South Africa’s mineral-rich western coast. Here you’ll join dive masters in search of diamonds on the sea bed or wait on the boat in excitement. Back on land, you’ll join Benguela’s expert sorting team to select your rough diamond to be cut, polished and set into a piece of jewellery at their design studio – the ultimate souvenir.

More Perfect Endings

Unbelievable Grand Finales

White Desert Safari, Antarctica

White Desert is the world’s only private jet company that flies into the interior of Antarctica. The flight from Cape Town takes 5.5 hours and touches you down on a specially prepared ice runway, from where you’ll be transferred to the Schirmacher Oasis. You’ll spend about eight hours on the ground exploring our planet’s driest continent with expert guides, before indulging in a gourmet champagne dinner served in a luxury igloo pod. You’re back in Cape Town before bed, pinching yourself in disbelief after experiencing the ‘Greatest Day’.

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World Travel Awards Nominee 2018 - Africa's Leading Luxury Tour Operator
Africa's Leading
Luxury Tour Operator
World Travel Awards Nominee 2018 - Africa's Leading Safari Company
Africa's Leading
Safari Company
World Travel Awards Nominee 2018 - South Africa's Leading Luxury Tour Operator
South Africa's Leading
Luxury Tour Operator